Arts and Culture Student Life Theatre

The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Concordia!

FASA teamed up with CAST to put on a smashing live production of the legendary 1975 film.

Stilted dialogue, heavy makeup, fishnets, cheap wigs, sequences, musical numbers that just grasp the right keys, and dialogue so stiff it might crumble if you take it too seriously—nearly 50 years after its original release, the musical comedy tribute to science fiction films of the 30s and B movies from the late 40s to early 70s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Concordia for another year. 

To celebrate the excellent shadow performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show from Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) x Concordia Association of Student in Theatre (CAST) on Oct. 27, we will journey into a brief history of the film and how it became a cult classic to screen and perform every year on Halloween. Indeed, not despite, but rather because of the glorious gender-bending oddities of this film, Rocky Horror is a cultural powerhouse.

CAST actors reenacted Tthe Rocky Horror Picture Show. Courtesy of CAST. Photos by Ian McCormack and Kaleigh Wiens.

Originally titled They Came from Denton High, Richard O’Brien began work on a busy script to keep himself occupied between gigs. Something of an homage to his childhood of science fiction, rock and roll, B movies, and struggles with sexual identity, O’Brien eventually shared the script with theatre director Jim Sharman who saw the play’s potential and reserved a space in London’s Royal Court Theatre for O’Brien to bring the show to life. The original runtime was a mere 40 minutes, but the cast was more concerned with fun than phenomenal success. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show originally premiered in a small 60-seat venue, but quickly moved onto larger venues in London. The musical comedy horror caught the attention of Ode Records owner Lou Adler, who, charmed by the unique and campy heart of the performance, decided to purchase the U.S. theatrical rights to the show. He and film producer Michael White loved the musical so much that they wanted it adapted for the silver screen. 20th Century Fox did not share this faith, and gave the project a small budget of $1.6 million and six weeks to film. 

The film was finished without much oversight from the studio, and premiered at the UA Westwood Theatre in L.A in September 1975. The studio claimed that many of the people attending the sold-out shows were repeat offenders, but other test screenings received poor reviews from critics and general audiences. The national release was quickly cancelled, but the film continued screening at the Waverly Theatre (now called the IFC Center), an arthouse theatre specializing in midnight shows to salvage some money. 

From here, The Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings became, and continue to be, something of a festival. Adoring fans return screening after screening, year after year, making friends with other loyal fans of the mesmerizing dialogue and cues. This has led to the creation of a community who gathered around this film to celebrate and lovingly mock its quirks. Eventually, this has also evolved into playful heckling—for which the film is perhaps best known—as fans shout at the screen to mock the film, dialogue, and characters. 

The heckling tradition began with Louis Fariz yelling “Buy an umbrella you cheap bitch” to Janet, played by Susan Saradon, as she held a newspaper over her head as a shield from the rain. This became a culture of quick quips and other funny remarks intended to get a laugh out of the audience. Next, fans began dressing up like the film’s characters and eventually shadow-acting the film underneath the stage. Word quickly spread about the spectacle of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and midnight screenings popped up across the United States and into other countries, as many were interested to experience the antics and freedom of a film, experience, and community that centres personal expression and provides an opportunity to explore a new side of your gender and sexuality.

CAST actors reenacted Tthe Rocky Horror Picture Show. Courtesy of CAST. Photos by Ian McCormack and Kaleigh Wiens.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show creates a space to challenge social norms, to explore gender and sexual identities, and to find a community who accepts you regardless of the shade of cheap red lipstick kissing your lips. The film is the ritual, the film is the community. The film was put on wonderfully by FASA and CAST, and I recommend you catch it next year.

Arts Arts and Culture Student Life

Celebrating queer joy at FASA’s cabaret

Students gathered at Sala Rossa for a night of performances, tarot readings and dancing in support of Concordia University’s Centre for Gender Advocacy.

In the face of the finely-veiled bigotry that is festering in and beyond Canada, the LGBTQ2S+ community continues to exhibit unwavering resilience toward discrimination. Mere days after the “1 Million March 4 Children”—a euphemistic name for what was, unquestionably, an outright demonstration of anti-trans hatred—Concordia’s Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) held their final orientation event: their Queer Cabaret.   

The event was held at La Sala Rossa on Montréal’s bustling St. Laurent Boulevard. The venue was full of celebratory energy with flashy, colorful lights drenching the space in reds and blues as the attendees let loose. The performers unleashed their uninhibited joy through spectacles of self-determination—dance, vogue, drag and acrobatics. The audience, full of awe and pride, cheered them on.  

Students compete on stage for best performance at Sala Rossa. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian

As burlesque dancers took to the stage and competed for best performance, tarot readers told fortunes in a mysterious booth off to the side of the dance floor. After the performances, DJ Mcherry’s set filled the room with a club-like atmosphere, welcoming the audience to take to the stage and dance the night away. 

The Cabaret was the second completely sold-out event held by FASA this month. The overwhelming turn-out demonstrated the student body’s ardent support of LGBTQ2S+ members and their willingness to show up in support. This echoed the same hopeful numbers that came out to counter-protest the 1 Million March.

“I think this shows the amazing community that we have in Montréal,” said a FASA organiser to the crowd. “The best way to move forward and keep each other strong is through community organising, showing solidarity and taking care of everyone around you, especially trans and nonbinary people and everyone who felt affected by the 1 Million March.”

Students gather at Sala Rossa for FASA’s queer cabaret night. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian

What emerged from the evening was a reinforced belief in the power of collective energy and joy as revolutionary forces. As we continue to battle injustice, we must continue to prioritise our physical and mental health.

The event hosted a fundraiser for Concordia’s Centre for Gender Advocacy, whose mission is to provide a safe haven for the university’s queer community. The organisation participated in the event with a pop-up table full of resources for students, ranging from free condoms and pamphlets on safe sex practices to guides on how to access gender-affirming care at Concordia. 

“We will continue to do everything in our power as a small organisation to provide services, programming and advocacy that helps as many people as we can live safely and boldly in their agency,” stated Concordia’s Centre for Gender Advocacy in a recent announcement on instagram. 

Learn more about the centre on instagram @centreforgenderadvocacy or at their website.

Arts and Culture Student Life

Elvis impersonator presents experimental films at MIA event

Concordia’s Moving Image Arts Collective organized a completely sold-out screening of student films. 

On Sept. 15, as the penultimate event of FASA Fest, students gathered in the VA building auditorium to watch a selection of student work that varied widely in aesthetic and approach. At full capacity, this screening had the largest turn-out of any MIA event so far. 

The Moving Image Arts Collective (MIA) is a student organization funded by Concordia’s Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) that aims to build a community of film enthusiasts within the university.  Through their screenings and roundtable events, MIA offers opportunities for students to present their completed or in-progress work to their peers, gain invaluable feedback, and forge connections that lead to collaboration. 

A highlight of the event was the persona of Elvis Presley acting as the moderator—a presence that truly enlivened the energy of the space. In an art world that can often be characterized as stuffy, serious and pretentious, this generous degree of playfulness and comic relief offered a refreshingly light atmosphere. 

The range of filmmaking styles included in the screening showcased the brilliance and creativity of Concordia’s fine arts students. The films shown were both independently-produced and affiliated with course assignments. All of them stood as testaments to the unique vision of each filmmaker and their dedication to quality work. 

MIA film screening, VA 323. Photo By Emma Bell / The Concordian.

The screening opened with an emotional and captivating poetic monologue piece on the precarity of pursuing one’s passion as relationships slip away to time. As the line-up progressed, a few recurring themes emerged that would transcend through many of the films: self-discovery through a sense of loss—be that the loss of childhood, homeland or family members—or through transgression, exploration and dreaming. 

A home video sourced from family archives told a nostalgic coming-of-age story; an irreverent documentary charted the mission of three roommates to gain roof access through a portal in the ceiling; a disturbingly corporeal claymation toyed with the limits of intimacy between partners. The threads of identity and investigation weaved through all of the pictures as they followed one another.

The event did not include a discussion or Q&A with the filmmakers—a choice that stole the opportunity to hear more from the artists on their motivations and process. Rather, the audience followed Elvis to a karaoke night complete with a raffle and snacks to Concordia’s campus bar, Reggies. 

Elvis impersonator singing karaoke at Reggies bar. Photo By Emma Bell / The Concordian

Stay tuned for more FASA and MIA events and opportunities through their Instagram accounts: @fasalovesyou and @movingimagearts.

Arts and Culture Student Life

What is FASA and What Does it offer?

Concordia’s Fine Arts Student Alliance hosted their first orientation event of the school year.

Concordia University’s Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) is a student-run organization that provides funding, creates several clubs and organizes art shows for all students within the faculty of fine arts. It is committed to being an inclusive, diverse, accessible and welcoming community for all students. FASA 101 was a recent event organized by the FASA members at Concordia’s VAV gallery located at the Sir George Williams campus on Tuesday, Sept. 12. 

FASA 101 Zine Workshop, VAV Gallery. Courtesy of FARR Concordia, Photo by India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner.

This event was an orientation gathering that brought together all the clubs under FASA. The aim was to provide a better understanding of the association and the opportunities it offers to new students. As one of the members mentioned, “it is basically an event where you should drop in, make crafts, meet friends while getting to know available opportunities.The Concordian was able to attend the Mindful Campus Initiative presentation—part of the many presentations and workshops that took place during FASA 101. 

The association representatives explained FASA’s dedication to the well-being of the fine arts students. The presentation outlined offered online courses focusing on stress and anxiety management tips, on campus services and activities for students to take advantage of as they navigate their coursework. 

The representatives also discussed the potential difficulty students may have as they begin to get involved on campus. It may seem overwhelming at first for new students to pursue joining new clubs in an unfamiliar environment, but FASA’s mission is to make the process as accessible as possible.

FASA offers several opportunities that can help students get involved in the university. Some of the best ways to get involved are by following callouts for upcoming exhibitions or events, volunteer work, jobs and grants. The best way to access all of these opportunities is through their websites, Instagram accounts, and email subscriptions. 

The VAV gallery’s general meeting is one of the upcoming events that will be hosted on Sept.21  at the gallery to elect the board members for the 2023–2024 academic year. Undergraduate students in the fine arts department are welcome to attend this event—whether to simply become familiar with the operation and members of the gallery, or to nominate themselves for one of the positions available! 

Arts Concordia Student Union Exhibit

Shams: Uplifting the voices of Arab artists

The vernissage of FASA’s new exhibition took place last Saturday, March 11, at the Eastern Bloc in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, displaying works in varying mediums from 10 different artists

Shams, the Arabic word for “sun,” seems like the perfect word to describe this exhibition, because it shines the light on the unheard voices of proudly Arabic artists. 

Nesreen Galal is the curator of FASA’s new exhibition. She is FASA’s outreach coordinator and a fourth-year Concordia student double majoring in studio and computation arts.

Galal conceived the idea for Shams after having co-organized many shows for artists of different ethnicities through the CSU. She found that there wasn’t enough representation for Arab people.

“I thought it would be cool to have an opportunity to have fine arts and non fine arts students who identify as Arab to have a space, and focus on marginalized voices as well such as women, queer [people], immigrants, disabled people, and refugees,” she said.

Galal drew initial inspiration from American-Palestinian author Edward Said’s book Orientalism, which explores the west’s depiction of eastern culture. 

“Arabs are perceived in a western-dominant perspective, especially in Canada where its perception is affected by America’s dominant perspective. We’re defined as barbaric or as terrorists or even stereotyped as people in fantasy lands like in Aladdin,” said Galal. 

For this reason, it was necessary to provide Shams as a safe space for the attributed artists. 

Co-creator of furniture workshop Atelier Bon Train Rafaël Khoury displayed an installation in the exhibition, called A lesson between two sculptures. It’s composed of three pedestals: the middle one holds a couple of notebooks containing Arabic and English scribbles, while the other two pedestals each hold a strange sculpture resembling uneven bookshelves composed of shattered marble and walnut wood.

“They are explorations in self-compassion, one of the primary themes of the installation are the exploring of self, reorienting of self, and being allowed to do so,” said Khoury. “The sculptures are a divergence of traditional furniture, and the script is also me trying to get in touch with part of my story, as a child of immigrants, but in my own way.” 

Similar to Khoury, communications alumnus and musician Amira Faradj grew up out of touch with Arab culture despite being raised by Algerian parents. “Because it was always in my household, I felt disdain towards it for some reason. Maybe it was because I wanted to fit in with my peers who were not from that area,” said the musician. “It’s only recently that I’ve come around to explore my identity in a way that feels like mine. I’ve never felt a connection to my country of origin until I realised that I can make that thing my own.” 

Faradj, who DJs as a hobby, presented egypt91 at the expo, which is a 35-minute mix of drum and bass/house music blended with sounds of what the west perceives Arabic music to be. This was accompanied by old footage of Faradj’s father’s trip to Egypt in 1991, collaged with other flamboyant visuals.

Ranime El Morry, a third-year studio arts major, presented the second portrait in their series called Just A Lookalike. The acrylic on canvas is of a mask made of some sort of malleable paper. It represents the unconscious social strategy of autistic masking. 

According to El Morry, who has been diagnosed with medium support needs on the spectrum, autistic masking is a unique process through which people with autism assume a different personality to each person they interact with. 

“It’s very hard to mix different groups of people in the same room, because we’re very different, and a lot of people diagnosed with autism don’t notice that they are masking,” explained El Morry, referring to their artwork. “You wear this paper and it moulds [metaphorically], and it can easily change but it can easily unmold, but it feels heavy.”

Dona Maria Mouaness, who immigrated from Lebanon a year ago in pursuit of studio arts studies at Concordia, created a terracotta bust of an unknown woman with tribal Bedouin face tattoos. “It started out as a self portrait. I wanted it to be more than that, I wanted it to represent women who identify with it or feel any kind of connection to her. She represents the resistant Arab womanhood.” 

The sense of unity is strong in this exhibition. Every artist has a different story and relation with their culture, yet they take strong pride in their identity, regardless of how prevalent it is in their lives.


Drop By And Drop Dollars at the CSU’s and FASA’s Holiday Market

Concordia’s Student Union and Fine Arts Student Association have teamed up for the Holiday Market this Dec. 7 at the CSU lounge, on the 7th floor of the Hall building

The idea of the Holiday Market came from the success of the BIPOC market hosted at the chapel on the Loyola campus on Nov. 8, organised by the CSU’s Loyola coordinator Sabrina Morena. Many tables were set up and decorated, with snacks included, and Concordia’s radio station CJLO made an appearance with their very own DJ. 

“It was relatively simple to organise in many ways which is why we thought short notice would do something similar,” said CSU Student Life Coordinator Harley Martin. 

The goal of this market is to expose artists downtown and at a more festive time of the semester. “We thought, ‘why not do something similar, closer to vacation time at the CSU lounge’ given there are so many people there at lunch,” added the Student Life Coordinator.

At this event, you’ll find beautiful tangible products such as ceramics, paintings, drawings and jewelry that you can buy for yourself and others. “We talked to FASA, and they said ‘let’s do it,’” said Martin

The Holiday Market was created with one two-sided goal: the first is to provide publicity for Concordia students in the fine arts, and with a great place in mind to do it. The 7th floor of the Hall building is always busy. “There are always people there,” said Martin. “It’s a great place to allow people to see some of the art and artists produced at Concordia.” 

The second aspect is the market’s capability of providing exposure for the artists, letting people know that fellow students create art, even though they’re not necessarily enrolled in a fine arts program. “They could do art on their own time in other departments or fine arts, but it shows other students that people are making beautiful and interesting things at Concordia, so [it’s] kind of exposure for both parties,” said Martin.

The CSU has collaborated with FASA many times in the past in order to stimulate and inspire unfamiliar students who are interested in getting involved with the fine arts. “The idea is that we try to get students involved in things that they are interested in, and FASA is one of the various groups that contribute to the school experience,” concluded Martin. 

Make sure to bring your friends, your eye for gift-buying, and your holiday spirit to the CSU lounge on the last day of classes!


Spotlight on BIPOC artists should be unlimited, not constrained to the shortest month of the year.

 Clear out your schedule to make way for these important celebrations

As February begins, one better make space in their calendar for the number of events that will be happening this month. For indeed, the second month of the year will be full of activities because of “Black History Month,” a title that was given in 1926 as a celebration of African-American heritage. BHM today has seriously moved away from “African-american” heritage to completely encompass ALL of black culture.

During this month, a number of galleries aim to showcase works by black artists, and Concordia is no different. The Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) has recently selected their artists for the month’s pop-up exhibitions around campus, they encouraged “submissions by all artists who identify as a person of African descent.” Interesting choice of words FASA, black and African are not synonymous. Every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square!

While dedicating a part of the year for minorities certainly is an important step towards inclusion, it is also important to remember that these artists are there all year—and should be celebrated every day; not only as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, (BIPOC), but as artists, and most importantly as human beings.

In any case, here are some things happening this February.

Jan. 27 marked three years since the Quebec mosque shooting, and Cinema Politica screened The Mosque: a community struggle in memoriam, and on Feb. 3, there was a screening of First Voices: an evening of Indigenous cinema as part of First Voices Week—and many more initiatives.

The prestigious annual Vision Celebration Gala, hosted by Black Theatre Workshop, is the official launching pad for Montreal’s Black History Month celebrations that took place on Feb. 1. Their Facebook event describes it as an event serving to pay homage to outstanding Black artist changemakers who contribute to the development of arts in Canada. It celebrates the vision of growth, solidarity and unity inspired by the great historical figure, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  (Stay tuned for my coverage of this next week.)

Many organizations are making sure to give a platform to black voices. For example,  Phi, a centre for contemporary art offers  Le Mois de l’histoire des Noirs: prendre la parole chez Phi. At the Cinémathèque Québécoise, there is a series of movies celebrating black lives, and honouring their history for the entire month of February—especially the renowned Kenbe la, jusqu’à la victoire. Shot between Haiti and Montreal, it is the story of an artist and militant, a black woman, who in spite of her sickness, strives to create a permaculture project.

February is not only reserved for the black community when it comes to Montreal but for a number of people of colour. For example, Cinema Politica at Concordia has made it their moral imperative to showcase a movie each week about POCs’ struggles—from First Nations to the Black community.

While at times it could be on a positive note and a sort of honouring, one can’t help but wonder why they all get crammed into 28, sometimes 29 days. Spotlight on BIPOC artists should be unlimited, not constrained to the shortest month of the year.




Graphic by @sundaeghost.


Reuse, (Re)Art, Recycle

How fine arts students can contribute to a circular waste system

With sustainability and climate action becoming an increasingly omnipresent factor in everyday life, the ways in which we must change our habits in an effort to become more environmentally conscious are becoming more apparent.

We’re taking the steps to reduce plastic waste and taking to the streets to protest for climate change, so why do we stop where our individual practices are concerned? For those invested in climate action, making art can feel restrictive. There is no doubt that creating is wasteful: paper, paints, brushes and canvases are discarded freely when they no longer serve a purpose.

While certain student groups, such as Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR), are making an effort to implement sustainable practices, not everyone in the Greater Montreal community can access these resources. We asked the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) if they had any comments or upcoming plans regarding sustainability and they refused to comment on the matter.

Currently, CUCCR diverts waste from within Concordia, and offers it to students free of cost. These materials include everything from wood to office supplies, and have helped avert approximately 14 tonnes of materials from waste. 

CUCCR coordinator, Arrien Weeks, is researching how Concordia’s Fine Arts departments is teaching sustainability for his Masters in Art Education, and a team of CUCCR’s artists-in-residence are working on developing a sustainable-painting workshop, as well as several other sustainable-oriented skillshares, in the near future. Paint poses a particularly interesting conversation because of it’s very materiality. Oil paint can be toxic and acrylic paint becomes plastic when it dries, making proper at-home disposal impossible.

Recently, art supply store DeSerres introduced a new recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle that could solve this problem. TerraCycle is a volunteer-based recycling program, with a focus on collecting hard-to-recycle items, such as razors. Instead of discarding waste, they reuse and upcycle it to create a circular waste system rather than a linear one.

The program, titled “(Re)Art,” was created in an effort to instill sustainable practices into the art-making process and allow artists to create freely. Described as a “social responsibility program,” the DeSerres (Re)Art motto is “give back. recycle. recreate.”

Student artists looking to recycle their materials can do so by visiting a participating DeSerres store, to place their items in the “(re)art recycling box.” Accepted items include paint containers, paint brushes, markers and pencils. Locations in the downtown Montreal area include Alexis Nihon and Ste. Catherine E.

The CUCCR Used Material Depot is located at the GN building, at 1200 Guy St., and The Shed is located at the Hall building, at 1455 de Maisonneuve. For information regarding their hours, events and workshops visit

Further information about the (Re)Art program and participating DeSerres locations can be found at

More information about TerraCycle can be found at

And finally, for more information about Montreal’s sustainable resources, consult this map, created by past CUCCR intern, Caroline Alince.


Photo by Britanny Clarke.


Activists and student associations prepare for climate march

Hundreds of thousands of Montrealers are expected to march on Sept. 27, along with cities across the globe in a worldwide environmental movement.

The international protest will be the second happening in 2019. Back in March, over 150,000 individuals marched the city, according to the CBC

According to Jacob Robitaille, internal coordinator of Concordia’s La Planète s’invite à l’Université (LPSU), Montreal is expecting a much greater participation rate on Sept. 27.

“According to the numbers, it looks like we stand to have yet again the largest march of any one city in the whole world,” said Robitaille. “Berlin is expecting about 300,000 people, but as it stands, we have people coming from across the country, some from New York and across the world.”

Environmental activists such as Greta Thunberg and David Suzuki are expected to speak.

Many schools and universities cancelled classes for the day. However, Concordia only cancelled classes from 11:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as stated in an email to all Concordia students and faculty members. According to Robitaille, this measure is a “double-sided edge.”

“It doesn’t send a straightforward message and added that they are still investing in fossil fuel, it doesn’t sound like they truly support us but they’re only doing it to stay safe,” said Robitaille.

That didn’t stop student associations from organizing events in preparation for the march. The Fine Arts Student Association (FASA) hosted a banner making session with all recycled materials at Concordia’s art hive.

“We wanted to create a place for students to discuss [environmental issues] and feel comfortable creating, but also being able to express their feelings in preparation for the march,” said FASA’s finance coordinator, Clara Micheau. “A lot of that passes through creation in the Fine Arts faculty and that’s how the workshop event came up.”

FASA has been working on many environmentally-friendly solutions in the faculty like using more recycled materials in classes. However, they hope Concordia provides more resources to attain their sustainability goals.

“There are a lot of departments that get a lot of education before classes even start on how to use materials wisely,” said FASA Student life coordinator, Daisy Duncan. “But there are no policies on that. I think the Fine Arts faculty should take a position on that.”

On top of the LPSU and FASA’s implication in the protest, Concordia created a fundraiser to create an award “for an undergraduate student who demonstrates leadership in developing solutions to the climate crisis, for a safe climate future,” as read in the fundraiser’s website.


Feature photo by Britanny Giuseppe-Clarke


How student-artists perceive one garment

From globalisation to self care, the shirt covers it all

From FASA grants for individualized projects, to student run exhibitions at the VAV Gallery and the Art Matters festival, Concordia fine arts students are given many opportunities to showcase their work annually. Student work of all mediums, and touching upon a broad range of issues is included; nothing is left unaccounted for.

Among these are the works of Elisabeth Perrault, Petro Psillos and Camille Charbonneau, student artists who work in a variety of mediums but share some common political and material ground.

These three student artists have used shirts as the medium for their messages.

Perrault’s untitled piece, exhibited during Relics.jpeg, at the VAV Gallery from Oct. 1 to 19, is a very large button-down shirt with printed motifs, made entirely by hand. The exhibition was curated based on material engagement according to the VAV’s curatorial statement, “relating to one another in their physicality and their ingenuity in the exploration of materials.”

Perrault’s work merged her skills in textile, fibre and design with screen printing processes to summarise the history of labour exploitation in the textile and fashion industries. “The image is made up of a young American girl in the 1900s. Through her, we can perceive actors exploited in their workforce,” said Perrault. “A shirt is a universal garment that most people have at home. A unisex garment that has no identifiable identity. It’s a reminder of how our everyday clothes are made.”

The transparency of the material is for emphasis of the voluntary blindness of our society in the face of this ethical problem,” the artist said.

Perrault’s design, choice of fabric, buttons and screen printed image encourage consumers to divest from fast fashion, reflecting the past and present of the clothing industry.

Similarly, painting and drawing student, Petro Psillos, created another large t-shirt made out of smaller, identical ones. “War (1991) is part of an ongoing series of authority-related t-shirt installations and sculptures,” said Psillos, who sewed four promotional t-shirts worn by Cineplex employees (himself included), to depict Ricardo Trogi’s recent film, 1991.

“Because I work at Cineplex Laval, I had to wear this shirt as part of my uniform for a month straight,” explained the artist. “During that time, the shirt got butter stains, popcorn oil stains, sweat, tears, rips… I started to think about how the employees of the cinema behave like a community, and how we’re all working together towards the end-goal of a corporation, but also developing skills and techniques, relationships and habits.”

Both Perrault and Psillos’s pieces critique contemporary consumption and labour exploitation by using the shirt as a medium.

“Since we look all the same wearing the same t-shirts, we are easy to group as one entity. To the outside customers […] we look all the same, without personality, not individual, not unique.” said Psillos. His work—exhibited as part of Art Matters during Sites of Embodied Silence at the VAV Gallery—uses the relatability of the shirt to confront viewers, increasing the typical size of the garment to create a wall, a physical obstacle to navigate in the gallery space.

War 1991, Petro Psillos in Sites of Embodied Silence at the VAV Gallery during the Art Matters festival. Photo courtesy of Art Matters.

For War (1991), Psillos intended to connect the exchange between business and culture as a testament to Quebec’s shrinking national identity. He saw this as a parallel to the way Cineplex and other corporations impose authority over their employees, especially through language control within immigrant communities enforced by Bill 101 and 115.

In both cases, I am stripped of my individuality and expected to submit to another person’s perspective,” said the artist.

Through the film it represents, to its colour and wear, War (1991) contains powerful references to escapism, globalization and bloodshed. Buttery popcorn stains allude to the dispute of oil and its production, and the size and name of the piece refer to the then recent demolition of the Berlin wall.

As a global symbol, the shirt can also be intensely personalized. Camille Charbonneau’s performance piece, 1 Corinthians 6:19, conceives the body as something that is borrowed, to be confined to a gender binary, and something to be hidden.

The piece, exhibited during Art Matters, consists of garments lined with beads. “While worn, the beaded sentence ‘YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE’ found in the shirt, on the in-sole of the shoes, and inside the knees of the pants is imprinted on the skin through pressure,” explained Charbonneau. “The use of the shirt, and of the other pieces of clothing in the project, stand as a symbol of oppression […] the emphasis put on the body being ‘a’ temple instead of ‘your’ temple limits someone’s well-being to a singular way of applying care to a body, and for gender non-conforming individuals, that care involves removing the shirt, and letting the wounds heal.”

The biblical passage 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reads, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honour God with your bodies.”

Physical care, clothing restrictions and overall behavior enforced by social norms compiled with critiques on globalization, consumption, violence and politics are embedded in these artists’ respective works. As an often mundane object, the shirt embodies all of this, and proves to be a symbol of Concordia’s 2018-19 art scene.


FASA to renovate Café X

The old café will be redesigned as a student-friendly place.

The Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) discussed the renovation of Café X space during a general council meeting on Oct. 29.

Café X, formerly located in the VA building, and was known for offering an all-vegetarian menu with vegan and gluten-free options. It was forced to close in late 2017, after not generating profits. In 2016, FASA contributed $12,000 to the café during its final year to help pay off its tax debt. The group also helped with the expenses associated with the closure of the café last year.

FASA has been in consultations with a design company to come up with a new use for the old space. “We would like to make the Café X space a nicer, more friendly space for people to hang out in,” said Sara Jarvie-Clark, FASA’s general coordinator.

The total project is expected to cost $76,000. FASA is looking to contribute $40,000 and will be seeking external funds to cover the rest of the cost. “There will be very few continuous annual expenses associated with maintaining the space,” said Jordan Beaulieu, FASA’s office coordinator.

The old café will be turned into a multi-purpose space and will include a sink, coffee makers, a vending machine with healthy options, a computer and printer, as well as rearrangeable tables and chairs for meetings. The space will also include a blank wall for projections, so the space can be rented out for film screenings. The floors and walls will be renovated as well, and new lighting will be installed.

Café X’s door today. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

During the meeting, the council was slated to vote on one of three colour schemes for the floor, walls and counters in the space. Jarvie-Clark reassured members that the design company would not be using materials that are easily stainable. FASA councillors voted on a patterned floor but will consult the design company about the possibility of having dark floors and counters, which the current design options do not allow for.

The current renovations differ from the original plan in order to reduce the cost of the project and complete it quickly. “FASA will provide its own furniture for the space, rather than having the cost of furniture built into the cost of the renovation,” said Beaulieu. “Moving forward, we can do more updates to the space as we see fit.”

The timeline for the renovations is still being negotiated. Beaulieu said FASA hopes to start as soon as possible. “We’re not sure how long the renovation will take, though it’ll likely be pretty quick once it’s begun.”

Photos by Gabe Chevalier.

Student Life

The art of formally asking for money

FASA hosts a workshop on the art of grant proposal writing

Many students will have to write a grant proposal at some point during their careers. Since a grant proposal is essentially a money request, writing one must be done with care.

On Feb. 1, the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) held a grant writing workshop aimed at arts students, but it was relevant and open to students from all faculties.

The workshop focused on tips for writing the perfect grant application for various projects.

Guest speaker and regular grant writer Amber Berson said grant writing is basically an application process where you ask for money for your work. The PhD student said the first and most important thing to focus on is mastering writing skills.

“Grant writing is an important skill, and it is a wonderful way to fund your art practice. But being a successful grant writer does not make you a successful artist,” she said. Berson said the skill is also useful when writing an artist statement, or, a description of the project, in a cover letter for a job, residency or an open call for submissions to galleries.

Berson said it’s important not to feel discouraged when applying for grants. “Even if you keep applying and you do not get positive results, it should not and does not take away your value as an artist,” she said.

Berson advised students to be clear and precise in their proposals—introduce yourself, and explain what your project is, what you need the money for and why would you or an organization needs to fund this project—why the project is worthwhile.

“You should never try to apply for all of the grants just because you need the money. That is very transparent to the grant agent. In certain cases, it even hurts your eligibility for grants in the future,” said Berson. She said students should contact the FASA agent or another grant agent if they have doubts or questions about the process.

As with any application, deadlines are very important with grant writing. “If you absolutely cannot meet a deadline, contact your agent immediately,” Berson said.

She stressed it’s also crucial to follow the instructions and meet the word limit or minute count for video submissions. While it seems obvious, she said, it isn’t always executed.

Asking for money must be handled with delicacy. Being realistic in terms of budget is an important thing to keep in mind.

“When you apply for a grant, you are applying for a not-for-profit project, which means you should not be making money off the project. Asking and getting [money] are completely different, and you should always ask for what you or your project are worth, and it should be realistic.”

For any student interested in applying for a grant to fund a project, Berson highly recommends visiting the Canadian Artists Representation (CARFAC) website.  This website is a useful tool for helping students with grants and planning their budget. For students interested in finding out about arts funding, the Regroupement des Centre d’Artistes Autogérés du Québec (RCAAQ) and Artère are also great resources that have helped many artists get grants for their art.

For more information or to apply for grants, visit their website.

Exit mobile version